Project Coast: ‘Vets too silent’
THE MEDICAL fraternity has taken a stand – albeit belated – against Dr Wouter Basson’s infamous programme, dubbed Project Coast, but other professional bodies remain silent, says Institute for Security Studies senior research fellow Chandré Gould.
Basson’s former Roodepoort laboratory has passed into new hands and is used for agricultural research. The new owners inherited not only dated decor from Project Coast, but also rows of rusted cages, which once housed the animal subjects – big and small – on which deadly drugs were tested.
Veterinary scientist Dr Schalk van Rensburg was one of only two Project Coast men to apply to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for amnesty, said Gould.
To her knowledge, no other professional body besides the Health Professions Council of South Africa has acted against a member involved in Project Coast’s horrors. It has not acted against higher ranking doctors who may have signed off on the mass production of Mandrax and Ecstasy, she said.
“(There’s) this kind of silence among professional associations,” said Gould, speaking at a Wits University lecture last night.
“The veterinary council has not taken up any action against the veterinarians involved in this programme. Moreover, the veterinary council has not seen it necessary to adjust any codes of conduct,” she said.
Basson has repeatedly stated publicly that Project Coast mass manufacturing of substances such as anthrax-laced cigarettes, Mandrax, Ecstasy and weaponised teargas were for the purposes of “crowd control”.
In a climate of what Gould characterised as increasing secrecy and increasing public unrest, Gould said citizens must act to check the kind of secrecy that allowed Project Coast to flourish.
“It’s every citizen’s duty to be vigilant about what’s happening, especially because we are seeing increasing public protests.
“We are seeing a very blunt instrument being used over and over again (to counter protests) – teargas, stun grenades and sharppoint ammunitions. I think we’re seeing a lot of human rights violations. – Health-e News